With the transfer window firmly closed, football got underway in earnest with players settled at their new or current clubs; knowing where they’ll be playing their football until January. The first international break of the season with teams resuming their world cup qualification campaigns and the Champions League group stages started up again. PSG may not yet know the repercussions of their summer spending in relation to financial fair play but on the pitch, they have been in scorching form.
11 Football Developments: September
PSG started their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Celtic at Celtic Park in their first group game before humbling Bayern Munich 3-0 I Paris resulting in the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti. Celtic responded by defeating RSC Anderlecht 3-0 in Belgium.
2. That opening round of fixtures also saw Barcelona defeat Juventus 3-0 in a repeat of last seasons semi-finalread more
The football season is back! The transfer window has now firmly closed after a crazy two months which saw the world record transfer fee more than smashed by PSG who paid Barcelona £198 million for Neymar which eventually set off a crazy chain reaction which went all the way to deadline day. Meanwhile, no one has been able to win Jeff Stelling’s £1 million.
Here is a selection of what happened in August…read more
Two games into the 2017/18 season and things could not have started anymore on the negative side for Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United. Two defeats left the manager in need of a major boost going into the final week of football in August. In a week where Jamie Carragher was critical of Newcastle, dismissing the side as a Championship one, Newcastle hosted Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup (League Cup) followed by the visit of fellow early strugglers West Ham in the league. This was a big week for Newcastle.
This type of post is something new I am currently trialling with the blog. For each Newcastle first team this season I will provide a review of the game in terms of the negatives and what positives can be taken from the game alongside my monthly overview posts which I did for the most part of last season. If anyone does not like these posts or think I could do it in a different way then, by all means, leave me your opinion and I will consider them…
The same remains if you do not agree with anything I write, it is entirely open to debate and I would like to hear your views too.
Right, now that the formalities or housework out of the way, let’s begin.
Newcastle United marked their return to the Premier League by hosting Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game of the 2017/18 season. Mauricio Pochettino’s men finished 2nd in the Premier League last season behind champions Chelsea so minus the fact Newcastle won 5-1 the last time these two sides met and the 50,077 crowd, this was never going to be an easy task.
Tottenham are still yet to sign a player this window so the starting 11 was one much familiar to last season with a couple of exceptions. Huge Lloris in goal with the back four in front of him consisting of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweild and Ben Davies who was playing in the absence of Danny Rose. Injury to Kierran trippier and the sale of Kyle Walker meant that Kyle Walker-Peters made his Premier League debut at right back. In the two lines of midfield; Moussa Dembele and Eric Dier were in the defensive layer with the attacking three being playmaker Christian Erikson, Delle Alli and on the right was quite surprisingly ex-Newcastle midfielder Mousa Sissoko who generated the chants ‘no-body wants Sissoko’ all afternoon. Talismanic striker Harry Kane started up front.read more
It has been a while since I commented on football; February in fact. Well, a long time later and we are now in August. The traditional season curtain raiser has been played which saw Arsenal defeat Chelsea in the Community Shield in penalties. Looking forward, we still have Jim White Day (Transfer Deadline Day) to look forward to and the best thing to come out of Hartlepool; Jeff Stelling will be back with the boys on Gillette Soccer Saturday bringing all the score updates from the Saturday 3 o’clock kick offs. Between now and May, we have a full season of football to look forward to and as a Newcastle United fan, I see my club embark on Premier League campaign, after a year out in the Championship.
The 2016/17 Championship season was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Newcastle in the closing stages of the season. After a slow start with defeats to Fulham and Huddersfield Town in the opening two games, Newcastle eventually found their stride and went 10 games unbeaten in the league to match the record of 10 unbeaten league games which goes back to Kevin Keegan’s first spell as manager.read more
The January Transfer Window. It comes and goes every year, Jim White get his yellow tie out and while some managers love and loath it, it is an opportunity to strengthen their squads. Newcastle United did not get that memo.
It is thought Rafa Benitez desired to bring in a central midfielder and a winger to strengthen his side for the Championship run-in. Neither came and the manager in charge of ‘all footballing matters’ does not know what happened. Newcastle recruited no new faces in an underwhelming January window but then that does not come as a surprise. However, six faces left the club on loan.read more
It may now be 2017 but we had to get through December first. What’s not to like about December hey? Sure, the nights are colder and longer but there’s the joys of counting down to a New Year as well as the giving and receiving of gifts from friends and family under the guise of the big fat man with the long white beard. The day itself was saddened as the world lost George Michael and then days later with one of the most recognisable faces from one of my favourite film franchises in Carrie Fisher. May they Rest In Peace. However, life goes on and so does Football which brings me to…
10 Developments in Football: December 2016
The Champions League Group Stages came to a close in December with Leicester City, Manchester City and Arsenal progressing to the knockout stages while Tottenham Hotspur fell into the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their group, a position secured by a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow.
Arsenal’s reward for eventually topping a Champions League group was the daunting tie of Bayern Munich (not much luck there) after PSG were held to a 2-2 draw by Ludogorets (their reward was a tie against Barcelona). Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were drawn against AS Monaco while Leicester City paired with Sevilla.
Southampton fell out of the Europa League on away goals in the Group Stage as a 1-1 draw at home against Hapoel Beer Sheva FC saw the visitors progress in 2nd.
Manchester United progressed with a 2-0 win over FC Zorya Luhansk and will face St Etienne in the Round of 32; Tottenham face KRC Genk.
December also marks the awarding of the Ballon d’Or to the best player of the year and for 2016 it went to Cristiano Ronaldo who won the award for the fourth time.
That wasn’t all Ronaldo won in December as he helped himself to a hat-trick as Real Madrid needed extra time in Yokohama to defeat Kashima Antlers 4-2 to secure their second FIFA Club World Cup.
Chelsea finished 2016 top of the Premier League after their 4-2 win over Stoke City at Stamford Bridge extending their winning run to an equalling record of successive wins in a single Premier League season; 13.
Five managers lost their jobs in December with the oddest perhaps being the dismissal of Gary Rowett by Birmingham City to replace him with Gianfranco Zola. In the Premier League, Swansea City became the first club to look for their third manager after partaking company with Bob Bradley having only been in charge for 85 days. Elsewhere, the man who blames anyone but himself and that cringeworthy dance at Wembley, Alan Pardew was sacked by Crystal Palace.
The increasing financial clout of the Chinese Super League surprised again after Brazilian midfielder Oscar left Chelsea for the league and was swiftly followed by Carlos Tevez.
Football was also given some space in the Queens New Years Honours list which was released on New Year’s Eve: Wales and Northern Ireland managers Chris Coleman and Michael O’Neill were both recognised.
Newcastle United News: December
Cath be gone: Apologies for the awkward subheading but Newcastle United had one departure in January in the form of Ian Cathro. The well-established catch was the only survivor of Steve McLaren’s First team coaching set up under Rafa Benitez but the lure of a management role was too much for the Spaniard to turn down. He departed to manage SPL side Hearts to replace Robbie Nielson who departed for MK Dons. The 30-year-old’s first game in charge of the Tynecastle club was a game with Rangers. He left with Rafa Benitez’s best wishes stating, ‘When a coach has the opportunity and the desire to progress his career in management, it is always very important to allow them the freedom to move on and develop themselves.’.read more
The clocks have gone back, the nights are getting longer and darker while the nation celebrated Guy Fawkes night. That is where English football started in November and as the month progressed, developments in the world of football were getting darker and darker. Meanwhile, it was also Movember as men around the country attempted to grow some embarrassing stubble in the annual stubble against Prostate Cancer.
Football News: November 2016
England and Scotland faced each other for the first time competitively since Euro 96; England won the game 3-0 with goals from Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill.
The Republic of Ireland defeated Austria for the first time since 1963 to go top of Group D in EUFA World Cup Qualification; James Maclean scored the goal.
Wales were held to another frustrating draw, this time with Serbia as Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 5 minutes remaining in Cardiff; the game finished 1-1.
Northern Ireland defeated Azerbaijan 4-0 at Windsor Park and finished 2016 2nd place in Group C in World Cup Qualification
The FA ended the month announcing Gareth Southgate as the new, permanent Head Coach after going unbeaten during his interim period
Football was rocked by allegations of historic sex abuse allegations with over 20 ex-professional players coming forward by the end of November.
In the Champions League, Manchester City progressed to the knockout stages with a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Monchengladbach while Leicester City achieved the same feat at the first time of asking after defeating Club Brugge 2-1 while a 2-1 defeat in Monaco knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the competition. Arsenal also progressed.
Southampton celebrated perhaps the biggest night in the clubs history
after defeating Inter Milan 2-1 at St Mary’s.
Chelsea finished the month top of the Premier League after defeating Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Lamia flight 2933 crashed in the Columbian Mountains killing 71 people, including 19 players of Brazilian club Chapecoense who were travelling to face Athletico Nacional in the Copa Sudamericana final having defeated San Lorenzo the previous week.
Six managers in English football lost their jobs in November taking the tally for the season to 18.
NUFC in November
Away from those dark developments in football, there was, of course, the action on the pitch and the beauty of the beautiful game. In the EFL Championship, Newcastle United had only four fixtures in November; three in the league and an EFL Cup Quarter-Final. November would not be as stellar as the previous month when Newcastle won all 6 of their games but there were still some highs.read more
The leaves have been turning brown, the nights are getting longer and colder, the kids have had their Autumn half-term while the ghosts and ghouls have been out for Halloween! And that’s without Chris samara’s fashion sense! In English football, the league and cup competitions are in full flow with early promotion and relegation candidates appearing across all three divisions of the Football league. All the while, the national side has been without a permanent manager.
October 2016: 10 things in October
The managerial sack race picked up with 8 casualties over the top 4 divisions of English football
Gareth Southgate began his spell as Interim England Head Coach with an unconvincing 2-0 win at Wembley over Malta before taking a dull 0-0 draw away in Slovenia.
Wales thought to a credible 2-2 draw in Austria but was followed up with another draw as Georgia held Wales to 1-1 draw in Cardiff
Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland defeated Georgia 1-0 before defeating Moldova 3-1 to go joint top of Group D
Northern Ireland defeated minnows San Marino 4-0 before falling to a 2-0 away defeat to reigning World Champions Germany
Scotland scraped a 1-1 draw at home to Lithuania after scoring a late equaliser before Slovakia destroyed them in a 3-0 win.
Jose Mourinho made his first return to Stamford Bridge after his sacking by Chelsea last season and his first visit as a rival Premier League manager but his Manchester United side was blown away in a 4-0 defeat.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa had a strop with manager Antonio Conte
Pep Guardiola overcame his worst run of form in his managerial career with a 4-0 win at West Brom after 6 games without a win against Celtic, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Barcelona, Southampton and Manchester United.
Sunderland were still yet to win a game in the league under David Moyes and became the first team in Premier League history to win in one of their first 10 games
At Arsenal, Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years at Arsenal.
Newcastle United’s October
What a month it was for Newcastle United! No upheaval during the International break as has been the case at times under the ownership of Mike Ashley and for the first time this season; a 100% win record in all competitions. 6 games, 6 wins and 17 goals scored with only 2 conceded as well as a Quarter Final appearance in the bag! The feel good factor is certainly back now!read more
September is a glorious month for football! The league games keep coming thick and fast, the ‘big boys’ have entered the EFL Cup and the biggest club competition globally is back; The Champions League! A glorious month for Football! Or, least it was until this week. Revelations brought forward by the Daily Telegraph highlighted England manager Sam Allardyce giving ‘foreign investors’ advice on how to circumvent rules regarding g third party ownership of players sighting West Ham’s signing of Enner Valencia in 2014. The Telegraph have continued implicating more figures in English football; suggesting 8 premier league managers are implicated as well as three figures in The Championship.
Here is a selection of events this month…read more